I found these old German Reich Bank Notes, or Marks, folded up in the stacks of paper I’ve been going through. These notes came from the era of the historic collapse of the German economy post World War One. A common story that is related by almost all history teachers to that time is that it took a wheelbarrow of Marks just to buy a loaf of bread. While being an interesting anecdote it really doesn’t give any details. So I decided to look it up and found this interesting chart that shows the absurd spike in inflation that took place. So absurd that when these types of Marks were ended in 1924 by the Weimar Republic it took 4 Trillion of them to equal 1 U.S. dollar.  

I don’t know how these came into my hands. Maybe some distant cousin sent them to one of my ancestors in America (these did come down from the German side of my family). Or maybe they picked them up from someone in Chicago. I do know that someone in my family collected a few coins here and there. So maybe they thought they would be worth holding on to for one reason or another. Either way, their financial value today is worthless, but historically they do hold some value because of the time period they represent. But don’t get too excited. The most expensive one I found is the last one, which in really great shape on ebay was going for about 10 bucks. Though, considering their utterly worthless value they had when printed, they have indeed increased exponentially in value. 

94 notes:

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    My wife collects Notgeld (Unauthorized money printed and issued in Germany during the crisis by stores and such) and...
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    01.07.2013
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    excellent description…people are often reluctant to believe that these beautiful 100 year old high denomination bills...
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